29 March, 2013

Good Friday - 2013

The Last Supper
Milan, Italy
Leonardo da Vinci

Phil Keaggy
Shades of Green

Phil Keaggy
County Down

27 March, 2013

Blog Action!

The Storm Begins On High
9" x 23"
Casey Klahn

Thanks to the following wonderful bloggers for noting The Colorist: Donna Zagotta, Laura K. Aiken and Alyson B. Stanfield. With Donna, this blog been featured 3 years running among Blogs to Watch, and it is wonderful to be found in this company.  Laura and I share a love for Henri Matisse, and so I am honored by this attention.  Alyson is the Art Biz Coach, and her work with artists has helped them make incredible strides in the business and outreach aspects of their studios. I have benefited from several of her workshops, and recommend her to you without reservation.  Be prepared to work hard, and reap benefits, at her workshops, including and especially the online ones!

Donna Zagotta

   22 Art Blogs to Watch in 2013

Laura K. Aiken  

   Eight Blogs That Rock My World

Alyson Stanfield

   Save The Apologies...

I also made it in Alyson's newsletter.  Thanks, my blog friends, for the exposure and for the interaction in blogging over the years!

23 March, 2013

Beginning the Storm


The progress of a pastel drawing.
The Storm Begins On High
9 x 23

18 March, 2013

Nocturne and Prose

Darkly, He Writes
12" x 9"
Pastel& Charcoal
Casey Klahn

This will be the fourth book cover I have done.  Happy to do these.

You can enjoy the stories by author Terry Gildow at his website: He Writes One Page a Day.

17 March, 2013

The Blues and The River

Click on the image to see it in full.
The River Blue
11" x 15"
Casey Klahn

16 March, 2013

River Bottom Land

Season's Change
@9" x 16"
Casey Klahn

Look for several new works to be posted over the next few days.  I will post them here first!

14 March, 2013

PDX is Short for Portland, Oregon

PDX Workshop, June 15, 16, 2013.

Studio 30 at Cathedral Park Place is Kat Sowa's premier teaching space in the heart of Portland.  I am very happy to be teaching my See Differently workshop there, in June of this year.  It would be a good idea to sign up early.

Studio 30 is huge!  This very well appointed space has natural and corrected lighting, a separate coffee break space, and is adjacent to one restaurant. It is in the St. Johns district, which is bordered by the Columbia River to the northeast, the Willamette River to the northwest, the North Portland railroad cut to the southeast, and the Cathedral Park neighborhood to the southwest. 

09 March, 2013

5 Things Captain Kirk Teaches You About Art


Why consider James T. Kirk, of TV's Star Trek fame, as an example for artists?  Mostly because of thing number 1, presented below.  The Kobayashi Maru story is about innovation, and I want artists (and other leaders who might be reading) to grasp some break-out thinking styles like that represented in the fictional stories of Star Trek.

Captain Kirk is the protagonist of TV's Star Trek, a 1960's science fiction drama set in the distant future.  Many forget that in the sixties, entertainment still relied on drama, instead of special effects, to carry the plot. William Shatner, as Captain James T. Kirk, dished up drama to an absurd level, and we ate it with a spoon. Star Trek and Kirk enjoy a cult following today, and it is fun to draw analogies from this fiction.

5 Things Captain Kirk Teaches You About Art

1. The Kobayashi Maru.

The Kobayashi Maru is the name of a fictional Star Trek training exercise where Kirk finds a solution that redefines the problem, especially when faced with a no win scenario.

Another way of explaining the art principle involved here is to describe lateral solutions.  A common problem in painting, such as which color to choose next, may be solved by choosing the local color (true, common color of an object), which is boring and expected, or by selecting the complement of the local color (the opposite color on a color wheel), which may also be expected. My favorite lateral solution: choosing an unexpected color anywhere else on the color wheel. This sometimes manifests itself as choosing the one color that is proscribed by good technique: it is garish, sick, and unexpected.  Now, you have a whole new set of colorist issues at play, and fun and enjoyment is revived in your painting.

2. McCoy versus Spock.

In Star Trek, Dr. Leonard McCoy is the ship's red-blooded, plain-spoken physician, and Mr. Spock is the first officer, a half-alien who is dispassionate, and over-burdened with logic.  They present a dichotomy of ideas when adverse scenarios confront our hero, Kirk:  emotioversus logic.

Artists have learned to seek out ambiguity.  Does it need any more explanation than this: the expanding of possibilities is increased by posing questions? Antimony is your friend, if you want to discover new paradigms.

3. Struggle Much.

CPT Kirk is a warrior character, an armed forces spaceman who battles seemingly invulnerable alien forces of the universe. Do we struggle as artists in the studio, when faced with the blank canvas?

Some have an aversion to the word "struggle" as a description of the artist's way.  Not me.  Certainly you have to admit there is a surfeit of creative inertia in the world, and especially among artists working today.  I want to overcome that force, to do new things, and I want to do that every time I approach the blank paper.  It is an inner struggle.

4. Thirst for knowledge.

James T. Kirk was called "a stack of books with legs." His insatiable curiosity about the universe drove him onward, and his broad knowledge helped him in troubled times.

Art is created, in part, by the out flowing of knowledge.  At the very basic level, it is knowing what things look like, so that even the abstractionist must use the image of things as a wraith; he avoids the look of things on purpose, or else represents images by other images.  

On a greater level, the artist knows what images have gone before him, and uses that knowledge to spring forward into new terrain.  The universe of knowledge available regarding art history, art, and the look of things is only the start.  Add to these disciplines the full gamut of liberal studies, and you begin to identify the role of the artist as greater than meets the eye.  Artists are cultural leaders because they study the universe, and represent it in new ways.

5. Skill.

A Starfleet captain of Kirk's caliber has a full and broad range of skills. CPT Kirk is the best of the best and much admired for his skills and abilities.

Skill is traditionally recognized as a key element in an artist's makeup. But, Modernist artists have said they are against skill.  This is well and good as a philosophy of art, but an argument can be also made to demonstrate the high skill levels of masters like Egon Schiele, Odilon Redon, and Henri Matisse. Matisse, at the apex of Modernism, is also held up as one of the great draftsmen of history.

Skill alone does not make the artist.  But, every artist realizes more powers and abilities accrue with time. Enhancing your skill level is a great pursuit. 


Finally, we admire CPT Kirk because he wanted to "...go where no man has gone before." You would do well to go where no artist has gone before.  Innovation is the soul of fine art. Think sideways to fool the inertia monster.  Accept asymmetry in your direction. Go to war with your own fears.  Seek new knowledge and hone your skills.  Here is where I'm tempted to say "live long and prosper," but that would be silly.

See also:
Five Leadership Lessons From Kirk

"Intuition, however illogical, is recognized as a command prerogative." Kirk in Obsession.

"Genius doesn't work on an assembly line basis. You can't simply say, 'Today I will be brilliant.' " Kirk in The Ultimate Computer.

Quotes credit: http://voices.yahoo.com/best-quotes-captain-james-t-kirk-star-trek-204167.html

06 March, 2013

Matisse Magic and Thoughts

Somebody please tell The Met that their Matisse drawing,

...is a preparation for this painting:

"There are so many things in art, beginning with art itself, that one doesn't understand. A painter doesn't see everything that he has put into his painting. It is other people who find these treasures in it, one by one, and the richer a painting is in surprises of this sort, in treasures, the greater its author." Henri Matisse.

My review of The Conversation, 1938.

Image descriptions and credits:

Study for Song, 1938
Henri Matisse
Charcoal on paper
25 3/4 x 20 in. (65.4 x 50.8 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002 (2002.456.45)
© 2011 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Conversation, 1938.
Henri Matisse
18 3/8 in. x 21 3/4 in. (46.67 cm x 55.25 cm)
Acquired 1993
Collection SFMOMA
Bequest of Mr. James D. Zellerbach
© Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/4132##ixzz2Mm3mhbl6
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism